Sometimes, there's nothing you can do but sit and stare in disbelief as something very ugly unspools before your eyes. Lee's latest is a horrific misfire in which he tries to deal with all the Big Issues of modern America but ends up knee-deep in a mire of non-sequiturs, iffy sexual politics, bad acting and a woeful script.
Lee's noble mission is to sweep through his twin themes of corporate and sexual corruption in the person of Jack Armstrong (Anthony Mackie), a high-flying biotech executive who valiantly spills the beans on his company's misdoings. It's an obvious echo of the Enron scandal, and the early moments of the film in which Jack negotiates the corridors and corporate dialogue of his company are promising, even if David Bennent's diminutive German scientist, Dr Herman Schiller (who leaps out of window and dies on a hot dog stall), are a little troubling. Is this bad acting, we wonder, or are we meant to feel the alienating chill of the corporate world?
It's when Jack loses his job that you begin to wonder whether someone has spiked your popcorn with LSD. His girlfriend Fatima (Kerry Washington) - now a lesbian - arranges for Jack to impregnate her partner and other willing lesbians for $10,000 a pop, (going to a sperm bank would be, in Fatima's words, 'like shopping for Gucci at Wal-Mart'). Animated sequences even show us Jack's sperm, while a series of women groan and shriek beneath him. Clearly, all that these lesbians need is a good shag from a potent male high-flyer. Add to this some awkward flashbacks in which Lee parallels Jack's story with that of the Watergate whistleblower Frank Wills and what you have is a startling mess.